If I'm a bit sluggish at my desk this morning, it's for good reason—I was out until 3 a.m. at the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I!

I'm a veteran of HP midnight screenings, and last night's activities did not disappoint. Wand-carrying, cape-wearing, lightning-bolt-sporting fans were out in large numbers to pack the several theaters showing the movie after midnight.

As usual, the crowd cheered the second John Williams' iconic theme started playing . . . and then the action kicked off and didn't slow down for two and a half hours.

If you're going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, you probably know where the plot is heading—although I won't write any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Harry, Ron and Hermione's quest seems bleaker and lonelier than ever as they search for the mysterious horcruxes, away from Hogwarts for the duration of the movie, constantly on the run from Death Eaters. I saw the movie with BookPage Web Editor Trisha along with contributors Stephenie Harrison and Tony Kuehn, and everyone agreed that the suspense in this movie was constant and effective. In this final (well, final—part I) chapter of the Harry Potter saga, Harry and his friends are almost completely self-reliant as they seek to destroy Voldemort. Although there's very little of the charming, happy scenes of wizarding life that I loved from the previous books and movies (scenes at the Burrow or in the classroom, for example), there are moments of humor, if not lightness—although I can't imagine a young child watching this scary adaptation.

I was always skeptical of how the two-part movie would split, but director David Yates (also the director of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince) chose a natural spot. It's a cliff-hanger, but I don't think viewers will walk away unsatisfied.

Part II of the finale will not be released until July, which gives everyone plenty of time to re-read the entire series before the on-screen farewell. Did anyone brave the midnight showing? What'd you think?

Also on The Book Case: Watch a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

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